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Oman plans six new airports in tourism push

Passengers at Muscat International Airport. Oman plans for it to be joined by six more locations Motofoto/Alamy Live News via Reuters
Passengers at Muscat International Airport. Oman plans for it to be joined by six more locations
  • New Oman airports by 2029
  • 50m passenger target
  • Airspace blocks opened

The majority of Oman’s six new airports are expected to be operational by 2028 and 2029, as part of the government’s initiative to promote tourism, a senior government official has said.

Work is under way on designing the new projects, which will increase the number of airports to 13, Naif Al Abri, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, told the Oman Observer.

Passenger numbers are forecast to reach 50 million by 2040, up from the current figure of 17 million, following the opening of the airports.

The Musandam airport is slated for completion in the second half of 2028, the report said. It will have a runway, taxiway and a terminal, plus a service and hangar area suitable for handling aircraft up to the size of Boeing 737 and Airbus 320.  

The authority has already floated tenders for site selection studies, master plans, design and supervision for the proposed development of Jabal Akhdar, Masirah and Sohar airports, the newspaper said.

This month senior GCC airport chiefs told AGBI that the annual number of air travellers to and from the Middle East is projected to pass 500 million next year, meaning aviation authorities need to both expand and streamline use of available airspace.

Oman opened two blocks of domestic airspace over the past five years to help ease the traffic burden, Oman Airports CEO Sheikh Aimen bin Ahmed Al Hosni said during the Airport Show in Dubai.

“Oman is a safe country, so many airlines would really love to come and fly over Oman … to avoid certain neighbouring countries, without naming names, and that’s why Oman airspace is actually growing really rapidly in the previous period,” he said.

Last month Oman Airports said combined net profit surged 45 percent to OR18.5 million ($48 million) in 2023, compared to almost OR13 million in 2022.

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